Counseling For Kids With Behavioral Problems
Is your child struggling with their behavior?
For some this may mean that your child is having a hard time following rules, complying with requests, or showing respect. For others, behavioral challenges take place during peer interaction. You may notice that your child is avoiding others, fighting with friends or siblings, or having a difficult time making and maintaining relationships.
Counseling can be a great space for your child to learn how to build healthy coping skills and positive habits aimed to support their growth in life. During counseling sessions, your child will have the opportunity to have their own judgmental free space. Together with the therapist, your child can talk about their thoughts and feelings, address deep-rooted issues, and build a clear plan to help them overcome their challenges.
How Do I Know If My Child Needs A Behavioral Therapist
Let’s take the case example below to give you an idea of how counseling can help your child with behavioral challenges.
Sarah started counseling when her mother noticed that they were having one too many arguments in the home. Sarah’s mother reached out to the counselor sharing that her daughter spends most of her day after school in her room and when she tries to interact with her, they somehow end up fighting. Sarah during the first counseling session shared that she feels judged and not heard when she speaks with her mother. Sarah shared “when I try to talk to her, and it doesn’t go well. I just shut down. I go inward or I lash out at her.” The counselor took time to support Sarah in understanding how the flow of the conversation impacts her mood. Over the course of a few sessions, Sarah was able to build skills in learning how to express her thoughts and feelings and in managing her emotions. The counselor met with Sarah and her mother in order to give them space to share their perspectives and learn how to show up for each other in a healthy and productive way.
People seek counseling for varying reasons. As a parent, you know your child and can understand when they need a little bit of support. Working with a counselor can provide a neutral judgment-free space to reach the goals that you have.
What Does A Behavioral Therapist Do
A behavioral therapist can support your child in understanding how to overcome challenges connected to specific behaviors. Your child can work with the counselor to develop healthy coping skills, create positive habits and goals, and explore deep-rooted issues that negatively impact behaviors and decision-making.
Common ways counseling helps kids, tweens, and teens with behavioral challenges:
- Learn how to develop healthy and constructive coping skills.
- Understand the root of the issues.
- Develop healthy habits and positive ways of thinking.
- Learn to build personal acceptance and love.
- Improve self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Understanding how to manage thoughts and feelings in a healthy manner.
Why kids struggle with behavioral challenges:
Your child may have experienced past trauma.
The trauma can be abuse or an intense experience that impacted their mindset. Experiencing trauma can directly impact your child’s mental health. When kids experience trauma ample changes take place that shows up in their behaviors. For instance, a child may struggle to make friends and often be the one getting in trouble. This is not due to their ability to behave. Instead, it could be due to their traumatic experiencing causing them to shift to a survivor mode where they have to always be defending themselves. When you choose to work with a counselor, you’ll have a space to learn more about how the trauma impacted your child’s life.
Difficulty expressing their thoughts and feelings.
Your child goes through daily experiencing that promote new thoughts and feelings. It’s important to teach your child how to in a healthy and constructive manner share their thoughts and feelings. Without the training, thoughts and feelings often spill out in an unhealthy way. This is typically common for most. Consider if you are having a bad day. It’s easy to find yourself agitated and short with others because of the thoughts and feelings you are holding in. Kids work in the same way.
Negative past experiences.
When your child experiences negative or bad experiences, the experiences are likely to impact their current and future interactions. This direly impacts your child’s behavior. For instance, if your child for years has fought with their sibling. They may find it difficult to shift the behavior due to past experiences. Counseling provides a neutral and supportive space that can help with sibling rivalry in this example.
Your child may experience behavioral challenges due to deep-rooted mental health symptoms or diagnosis.
Common examples include if your child has a diagnosis or strong symptoms of anxiety, depression, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD. Having a mental health diagnosis or strong symptoms connected to the mental health diagnosis can directly manifest in your child’s behavior. Let’s take a clear example to give you an idea of how your child’s behavior can be connected to their mental health state. Considers if your child struggles with depression. The depression may show up with low esteem or feeling insecure. This then can show up at school with your child not wanting to excel or engage in activities. Not because they are not able to do it. Instead, they do not want to be the focus of attention. Being the focus of attention can result in your child feeling that they would be judged which would directly impact their self-esteem and insecurity.
How long does it take to see results in your child?
It would be nice to say that the results happen right away. When it comes to counseling, results are connected to the counselor and the client. This is why it is so important to take your time and find a counselor that is a good fit. You are more than welcome to reach out to our office and to speak with Amber. Ask her questions. Let your child see her picture or watch her videos.
Counseling results are connected to the work that takes place. If the client doesn’t actively engage in the session or take time to complete homework assignments then there may be a slower growth process.
If you are looking to start counseling and address the challenges that take place, consider the recommendations below:
- Take time to get to know your counselor before getting started. Overall, this helps to identify a good fit.
- Give your child space to be with their counselor. Take time to have sessions with all parties while also giving your child space to build their own relationship with the counselor.
- Ask the counselor how you can help when it comes to supporting your child.
- Let your child know that you are willing to learn and grow as well. Versus sharing with your child that they are the problem and counseling is only about them.
In addition to supporting your child with counseling, consider family therapy or individual counseling that focuses on parenting education and growth. Below are more helpful resources aimed to support your child in moving forward in life.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
This is a great book for parents that need simple and effective strategies aimed to support in addressing challenges. The author teaches readers how to parent their child in ways that address anxiety, anger, and other challenges in life. The book can give you strategies and additional tools to support your child with behavioral challenges. CLICK HERE to purchase the book.
How To Talk So Kids Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk
A great book for parents struggling to connect with their kids or to communicate lessons that create connection and understanding between a parent and child. I continue to recommend this book over and over due to what my parents tell me.
How To Talk So Kids Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, helps parents find the missing pieces. Much of what is discussed in the book, is taken from counseling sessions. CLICK HERE to check it out.
Supporting you in your journey of healing, recovering, and moving forward in life is our mission. The resources are hand-selected to ensure that you are provided with the very best tools to move you forward in your journey. Please note in full disclosure that these are affiliate links, meaning that a commission or incentive with links that you use. We truly appreciate your willingness and kindness in trusting our counseling practice.